In a significant development, the vandalism of The Satanic Temple Iowa congregation’s Baphomet statue at the State Capitol has been elevated to a charge of felony third-degree criminal mischief and a hate crime. This shift from a mere misdemeanor to a serious felony underscores the gravity of the attack on religious pluralism and the criminal violation of individual rights.
The Satanic Temple of Iowa congregation proudly installed the display at the State Capitol as part of the annual holiday display event. This expression of religious pluralism and freedom sparked vehement disapproval from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and failed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis. A few weeks after the display's unveiling, TST Iowa's mirrored Baphomet figure was destroyed. The perpetrator was originally charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Then, on January 30, The Satanic Temple's Satanic Representation Campaign was informed that the perpetrator would instead be charged with felony third-degree criminal mischief and a hate crime.
“Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim’s religion,” -Lynn Hicks, Polk County Attorney’s Office Spokesperson
The decision by the Polk County Attorney's Office to escalate the charges to a felony and label it a hate crime is a commendable recognition of The Satanic Temple's authentic religious standing. This action reinforces The Satanic Temple's rightful position in a society that values diverse thoughts and beliefs. While the path to true religious equality in America will be long and fraught with challenges, this moment marks a significant milestone in The Satanic Temple's journey.
The Satanic Temple extends its heartfelt gratitude to their community, supporters, and allies who have offered their support and will continue to provide updates on this case's progression.
If you would like to support the cause, click HERE
To learn more about the importance of Satanic representation in the public sphere, click HERE to visit the Satanic Representation Campaign page.
SALEM ART GALLERY HOSTS IOWA BAPHOMET DISPLAY
Visit the Salem Art Gallery to witness a powerful testament to resilience and religious plurality: The Satanic Temple Iowa congregation's holiday display exhibition. The exhibition's first part presents the display in its damaged state, followed by a transition that showcases its restoration. This progression encapsulates a vivid portrayal of The Satanic Temple's struggle for religious freedom and equality against theocratic forces.
Get tickets HERE